Monday, November 23, 2015

BB69: It’s Not About Space Magic, it’s About Space Money...

~or “Immersion or PVP? Different Goals…”

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 69th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page.

Blog Banter 69 - Because of Space-Magic.
CCP sometimes get stuck between a veldspar 'roid and a hard place when they try to blend realism with sensible game mechanics in our sci-fi simulator. Sometimes they create a scientific answer such as 4th dimensional drag to explain our 'submarines in space'. Other times, not so much. 

When a null-sec Citadel is destroyed players 'stuffz' is to be magicked to another station. Why should a citadel be different to a titan? Should CCP ensure that 'space magic' always has a plausible explanation or do we need just to say "Well, it’s only a game!" and engage the willing suspension of disbelief? How should it work when a citadel goes boom, how do we balance risk with reward, and how should any "space-magic" be explained?


First off, I hate that term, “Space Magic”, I really do. Wanna know why? Cause I am an aficionado of Science Fiction… not Fantasy. Oh don’t get me wrong, my dad gave me his original copies of the Hobbit and LotR set when I was young, I think around 9 or so and I fell deeply in love with all of it. And for them as dunt know it, J.R.R. wrote the Hobbit as a boys book, not as adult fare and as many do know he wrote all of it as a way to give life, a background, the Lore if you will, to the languages he created. My love for J.R.R.’s stories, their characters and events and places is unbounded, but…

I don’t want to BE an elf. Nor do I want to BE Frodo, or Gandalf or Bildo much less do I want to wander (OK go a Questing) in Middle Earth following some improbable female elf ass in a bikini all around… much less some manly elf guys ass, or any other ass for that matter. I tried and trialed many of the fantasy MMOs through the years and none held the slightest interest for me. This was why I came to EVE as basically an MMO noob in my 50th year. The SciFi MMO’s I tried were all planet based and I had become disenchanted and didn’t try very hard to find any that were space based either. MMO’s in general didn’t interest me, until EVE.

I have no other interest in fantasy except LOTR, outside of those stories alone I am a Science Fiction reader. To me, there is no Magic except in Middle Earth, everywhere else there is only Science. So much so that I firmly believe in Clark’s 3rd Law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I mean take an iPhone back 200 years, take a few pix and vids of the locals and see if you don’t get burned at the stake as a Witch and a Stealer of Souls.… go ahead, try it.

The difference between us and them is we understand and accept that there are things in the world we do not understand yet… things that, to us, look like ‘magic’… but KNOW they aren’t... We know that they are a simply as yet undefined phenomenon, that’s all. Just like sunlight and lightning use to be yet to be defined phenomena, phenomena we control and make use of every second of every day today.

“Should CCP ensure that 'space magic' always has a plausible explanation?”

Yes, at least in the Lore I want that detailed TLDR technical explanation of the seeming Magic Trick… not just “Hocus Pocus”+‘Wavy Hands’=Voilà!… I hate hate hate that we land on stations and are ‘magically’ transported inside them, and yet we have to manually undock by flying out of a docking port. If we have transporters capable of transporting a fully loaded Providence INTO a station, then they damn well can transport it OUT. No, just goddamn No.

There is no coding reason, other than the work involved in coding it, why we can’t land at a station, where the docks are aligned to the various Star Gates (or the Nav Beacons set in space so we can maneuver around those pesky planets and moons that we SHOULD NOT BE ABLE to WARP THROUGH…)… anyhoo, so we land facing a dock, burnin until we are INSIDE the dock and then I’ll accept “poof” and you’re in your Hangar Bay (and yes I would personally prefer to FLY into the station and FLY through the station to my Bay… but that’s for another post). Now the converse must also be true, If we set course before we undock, then we fly out of (the station ejects us from) the dock facing that Gate/Nav Beacon… if we don’t set a course, then the station chooses the least crowded dock to punt us out of… simple right?

Yeah… but never gonna happen in EVE. Wanna know why? Cause PVP.

Landing and being transported IN can provide some modicum of safety for those transporting goods around, and goods making it to the station where they will be sold is good for the economy… but, PVP… so undocking takes place at the same spot for every one and very rarely point towards the gate you need to go to, so you are at a far greater PVP risk when starting your journey. PVP balance. Not too much safety which the PVPers would scream bloody murder about and not too much Risk, which the PVEers would scream…. Ya-da ya-da…

This is the thing about “magic” in EVE. PVP. As Drak pointed out, the crux is Risk vs Reward. Much of the ‘magic’ in EVE was decided on not for good gameplay or Immersion in a virtual environment… if you want that, do as I do and fly in Elite Dangerous where immersion and physics take precedence over PVP considerations. But then ED is not a PVP game, it is a PVE game with some open world PVP. As such the Frontier Devs have devoted far more time to the physics of their verse than the CCP Devs have… they have different goals you see?

Drak asks (paraphrased), “How and Why should a citadel be different, or the same as, a Titan?”

What Drak is asking, in effect is, what do you think about “Asset Safety”. At EVE Vegas CCP Nullarbor did the Structures presentation where he discussed everything Structures but... we are talking specifically about Asset Safety. This is the when a null-sec Citadel is destroyed players 'stuffz' is to be magicked to another station thing that kicked off this particular BB. Nullsec players, it seems, are not willing to risk it all… not ‘really.’

Oh I know with a Sov Flip you can get locked out of a station you used to have access to and thereby, “lose” all your stuff that was in that station. That happened to me once. But the truth is, you don’t. All the stuff stays in your personal or corp hangar bays which the new owners have no access to… even though they took control of the station by force of arms or by subversive or traitorous action. But it’s OK… ‘cause you can still make contracts, valid legal contracts transferring ownership of any assets in a flipped Station to whoever you want. Which means you can sell your ‘lost’ goods’ to someone with access to that station, or whatever other arrangement you care to make.

No again, this makes no sense and is all about risk-adversity and stuff-retention and not about Immersion and Risk=Reward… it’s about “But I dunt wanna lose my stuffs!” Anyhoo… so now, with these destructible Outposts and Stations, IE Citadels, CCP needs a way to keep the players stuff safe or they risk losing players to ‘safer’ games. Who’da though you’d ever hear that about Nullseccers? Seems we’re all a bit Risk Adverse under the rhetoric.

So, Asset Safety goes into effect automatically on station destruction OR can be implemented manually whenever. Everything is ejected into space, all Personal and Corp hangars are safely recovered. You then choose where to recover your stuff. Stations in same system, is free and takes 5 days. Nearest NCP Station, cost 10-15% of the value and takes 20 days to be available to you.

Here is the break-down of what drops and what is saved.

But… for me specifically the answer to the BB question, “How and Why should a citadel be different, or the same as, a Titan?” First off, it aint different in Anoikis. This question is space biased… It applies only to Empire. In Anoikis, in wormhole space our POSes, our Citadels, if subjected to a Rapid Unplanned Disassembly, will drop a percentage of everything… just like ships. No Magic Safety Net for us oh no.

As far as I am concerned, if it is this way for us, it should be this way for everyone… we wormholers are being punished for living in holes and this will I fear reduce the number of players willing to live and die in Anoikis. Unfair CCP, unfair. Of course that is exactly why CCP is making this safety net for nullsec… to keep them from fearing to live and play in their space. But fuck Anoikis I guess. Here is the break-down of what drops… everything.

Asset Safety, this magic-save-yer-stuff-net, is not realistic in the game context and it is not in the spirit of EVE. It is however as I said, in the spirit of we-don’t-want-to-alienate-nullseccers… and that’ all it is. It is one more WoWish nerf of EVE’s ‘Loss is Real’ and ‘Risk=Reward’ basis. And the distance from here to where players can’t lose dey stuffs ever is not as long a leap as it used to be, now is it? And it is one I fear CCP will one day make in the interest of financial stability and profits.

And the worst part is, who's to say they are wrong?

Fly wreckless and see you in the Sky... =/|)=

I'm just gonna set this, Loot Fairy Triumphant (Blog Banter #69), by Rhavas, right here for your consideration dear reader...

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Moar Than Meets The Eye...

~or “Tur Explores a New Verse, on Foot… (and brings his camera!)”
I logged into Star Citizen last night after a bit of trouble with the client. I could not find a reason but the Launcher would not install the client. Finally used “Run as Admin” and that solved the issue. This was, essentially, my first real exploration of SC as the few times I had logged on before I just boofed around the hangar, checking out my ship, the Aurora MR, that’s me up there, ol Tur, sittin in my Aurora in the hangar bay… (I highly recommend you watch the… commercial).

My Aurora MR "Ignobilium"
OK, so initially I was boofing around in the Hangar and checking out my singleship, trying out the camera, looking for good shots to capture the moment as twere. The First Person aspects… are definitely in the Win column. Walking around the world, entering your ship like you would IRL, climbing in through the airlock, taking a seat in the cockpit or climbing into your bunk. Yes, I said
climbing into your bunk.
"Feenominal Cosmic Spasship!!  itty bitty living space..."
The Aurora has a by the gods bunk in the back and you can get in it to ‘sleep’ (IE logoff)… schweet. One thing I want, I want name my ship. In EVE we can do this as a mechanic in the game, in ED we can’t and I don’t see a Ship Name option offered in SC… that one goes in the Boo column.

The Captain's Quarters, Star Citizen style...
Anyhoo, so I ended up wandering around the Hangar Bay and found the door out… Yes Virginia, in Star Citizen before the game has even been released, the Door works. Ironic huh? So I found that there is a short corridor, really just a largish airlock, between the Hangar and… well, a city. Or at least several blocks of a city. I walked through Customs, with the std non-interactive mannequin NPCs and out into the Area 18 courtyard in ArcCorp City on Stanton III, keeping in mind that ArcCorp City is, well, the whole damn planet (this is the alpha of the Social Module in SC). It was… impressive to say the least…

View from the lobby between the Hangar Bay and Area 18...
Now here is where the fun begins. First thing I did was do the tourist thing… you know, wander around with my head on a swivel and my pie hole open catching alien flies of course until I saw a stairway leading up to another level. I thought to get a better overall view from there and started up it… and when I veered a bit to the right to look over the railing… I fell through a glitch. Yup… fell right through the effin railing to a ledge I could neither jump or climb up from nor safely jump or climb down from. Frak. I spent a quite a while there… enjoying the view, wondering if I was gonna die, and knowing that, in SC, you are NOT immortal… (moar on that little bit of depressing news later…) So, yup… in my first 10 minutes logged into SC I had gotten myself stuck onna ledge that… well, watch your feet, cause that first step is a fukkin doozy…

Damn computer glitches...
Anyhoo… I explored both sides of the ledge and jumped and jumped trying to climb up until my mouse finger, well, dint bleed actually but you know what I mean… until I gave up. Then I tried, very carefully, to see if I could jump down to another, lower ledge… you know, just in case there was another way around or… nope. YYYYYAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaa! Splat.

Well. That was interesting, and you wake up (respawn) in a hospital... LOL
Having inadvertently figured out life and death in the big city, now we get to the fun part… exploring!

Ye Olde Gunne Shoppe...
The anticipation I felt when I saw a gun shop across the courtyard was… well, I’m an American and as so many of my EU friends have said, “You Americans and your love affair with guns!” (said with a sneer in a strong British accent) The which always strikes me as very strange when said in chat in a WAR GAME like EVE or in an FPS… You know, a First Person SHOOTER game, in which you SHOOT people… a lot of people, with guns and machine guns and lasers and rocket launchers and tanks FFS… but they have an ‘issue’ with me ‘liking ‘real guns… sheesh.

But yes, I do have a strong interest in firearms… I have been a hunter all my life, since I was 8, I have been a target shooter, a registered PI, a gunsmith and a firearms instructor… so yeah, I have an interest in firearms, virtual or real and a gunshop in a spaceship game… well hell, of course I’m excited! Until I went inside…

We are not impressed...
What is with game Devs vision of stores in the future? Why do ALL of them have HUGE wide open aisles with a vast amount of empty floorspace?? No retailer worth his weight in Vaduul ears would ever allow so much wasted space! I know whereof I speak, I used to be a gunshop manager FFS!! There were like 17 guns on the rack in this shop… I had in one shop easlily HALF the floor space of ‘Cubby Blast’ (effin ‘tarded name there BTW) and 10 times that many guns!! Not to mention aisle racks loaded with holsters, cleaning kits, knives, hunting kit and gee-gaws and tons of military surplus gear and ammo shelves!

So, disappointed I was and am… Could not actually buy a gun, could not use the range, couldn’t even find a door for it and the asshat behind the counter was a mannequin and the counters… don’t get me started about the counters!!  EMPTY!! Has anyone ever seen store counters as devoid of merchandise, outside of Russia at the height of the cold war?? I haven’t… so much work needs to be done here!! But at least the posters were cool.

Schweet! Long damn time for a meme to last though...   =P
OK, so next up… G~Loc! A swanky-low-brow-spacer bar. Granted ‘twas the middle of the afternoon, so dead was not the word, but, if they ever get to where you can really interact with your avatars, the atmosphere and décor are at least interesting enough… that and I’d love to see this place IRL. Downsides? Wayyyyyyyyy too few bottles for a real bar… Ever been in a real bar? Ever seen just 27 bottles on display or ready to pour? Nope, me neither and what’s with the wall mounted bottle holder/pourer things? What, bartenders of the future can’t do the flippin bottles thing?

Ya just gotta love this sign!
Not bad, nice ambiance...
Where's the bottle rack? Beer glasses? Wine glasses? Shot glasses?
What in Sam Hell are those bottle holder things??
So next up was… a clothing store. I could not give less of a fuck for how my avatar is dressed up. All the people who threw such a fit back in Incarna were all on about how “World of Darkness” was nothing but “Sparkly Barbies”… and while I desperately want FP gameplay in EVE, the ‘dress-up’ part of avatar based gameplay holds absolutely no interest for me, whatsoever… So I walked right past Casabas. Besides, who names these places? Isn’t a Casaba a “…winter seasonal melon of a variety with a wrinkled yellow rind and sweet flesh?” How is that a good name for a clothing store? I mean really?

A wrinkled yellow sweet flesh clothing store... meh.
Onward… Around the courtyard is a stairway leading to a flying walkway over… well, I don’t know how far up we are from the ground or groundfloor of these buildings, but I found I have a fear of railings now in SC… go figure, but the view is stunning. At the end of the skyway was the entrance to Astro Armada. At first, after the shitty names of a few of the business here, I thought the name was a word play on Ramada Inn, like the, you know, the Ramada of the Stars, IE a hotel. But nope… it was a high end spaceship firm. I did take some pix inside but…

First one the name actually means what it says...
You see I was not alone. I haven’t talked about the other players who were there because… well, they have borne out, in full, all of Rixx Javix’s fears about FP avatar gameplay. There were like 1 or 2 at first then I noticed a few more over time. At one point there were like 5 or 6 active in the courtyard and surrounding spaces. ALL of them spent the whole time I was there jumping and jumping and jumping and running full tilt all over the place. And all they wanted to do was find a way, any way, to fuck shit up if at all possible. You see there are these carts, like fancy futuristic golf carts, that spawn now and again in places around Area 18.

Anyway, so you have these golf carts see… and these, players, see… and all they can think of to do is ram them into everything… and everyone… and try and get them to go over the railings… and into the buildings… and so then you get this… see?

Burning wrecked carts and silly jumping hooligans  <facepalm>
Anyway… so while they are all doing exactly as Rixx guessed and acting like pure ‘tarded fools… I went so far as to toggle my avatar to walk mode instead of jog for my leisurely sightseeing stroll around the city and I have been trying to avoid getting any of those idiots in my pix. Needless to say, they were jumping ALL over the showroom model of a schweet single seat fighter on display inside Astro Armada and I didn’t take any pix in there… simply too silly for me. I know these guys are all supposed to somewhere in like their 20s and 30s… but TBH it was like being surrounded by 10 year olds on a serious sugar buzz… I’m 55 and I wanted to enjoy the immersion of such a highly detailed virtual environment… not feel like I was at home with my kids at a birthday party.

OK, back outside of Armada there was an obvious alleyway off to the left of the Armada and stairs leading down to what felt like the edge of town, you know, the poor side of town… the beginning of the back alleys and side streets where scantily dressed 5 credit hookers in eff-me-pumps and men of bad repute live and hang out. At the bottom of the stairs was “Dumpers Depot.”… OMFG… the names are soooo atrocious. Ima write a letter to Roberts I am.

Feels like heading to the poor side of town
So Dumpers Depot is a junkyard and salvage operation on the back side of the courtyard. And low and behold, there is an alleyway leading to the dark, trashy lowrent section of Area 18. I, of course, haddda go take a look see.

The corner of Dumpster and Skid Row
And it was… a full set of back alleys littered with trash and trashbags busted open everywhere and puddles of oily looking water, busted open crates, locked fences, keep out signs, poor lighting, danger, gloom and despair…

The mean streets of Area 18
Garbage disposal in the far far future... man still can't keep his home clean.
But… as dirty and ugly as the back side was, it was also very human and for a virtuality, real enough. There is another courtyard accessible back there… with signs proclaiming “Galleria Retail, Coming Soon!”… and that block of closed off, under construction buildings faces this view…

Not bad…

Nope… not bad at all at all… Yeah… I’ll be coming back, oh yes I will.  =]

Fly reckless and see you at the Bar =/|)=

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I Like Shewting Stuff!... Hey! So Do We!

~or “Join Us? Yes!, Undock?... Mmmm, Not So Much.

I have been on and playing EVE, sporadically yet randomly… Seems others are still in AFG mode and I find myself getting bored once again. For the last few weeks I have been loggin on pretty much every night, but all I am doing is scanning all the things, which means just those few sites and holes that have popped in the prior 24 hrs, and I have been runnin the gas sites for something to do solo, but overall… meh.

Also last night was the first night I have logged on Elite Dangerous in a couple months. Not that it’s not a good game, it is, but I was focusing on grinding up enough Creds to stop playing just to make creds if you know what I mean, and grinding in any game just to grind is… well, grindy TBH. I was doing the main Rares Circuit and pulling in approx. 1m to 1.5m Cred per round trip per session… but it’s a long 30ish hop/160LYish runs from Zaonce/Lave/Leesti/Diso/Orrere to Witchhaul/Fujin/39 Tauri/Zeessze/George Pantazis then back again…

I always take the Economical instead of Fastest routes hence the 30ish hops, there are some upsides and downsides to both. The Fastest routes may cut your hops in half, but they have two major downsides… They push the limits of your fuel use, so for each hop you have to orbit the sun, if it’s the right type of star, and scoop fuel for an unacceptably long time. The other issue is when you land on a sun that is not scoopable… and you have already burned 50% or 80% or more of your fuel on that time saving long ass jump… you can find yourself rightfully screwed if there is not a scoopable star in that system or if there isn't a system with a scoopable star within what jump range you have left.

You have only three options then… see if any friends can be bothered to yer skeevy ass or… whoyagonnacall? Fuel Rats!

…who will save you by coming and transferring fuel to you with Fuel Transferer Drones (OK, Limpets… really? Limpets??) or you can Self-destruct… you know, push buhtan, count to 30, go Boom, lose ship (replaced) and all cargo (not), wake up in station…

Fig 1.
or wait until the same thing happens… only slower…

Fig 2.
<wheeze> tick, <wheeze> tick… OXYGEN DEPLETED IN: 0:00… Boom (see Fig 1. above above). Though why in Bob's Name your ship assplodes just because you ran out of gas and air, assphyxiated, turned purple and died I know not... itsa mystery. I mean really... who wires up the self destruct to the air supply?

OK, so I choose Economical. You hop, you land, check sun for scoopworthyness, if OK, scoop, run a system scan, finish scooping and warp out to your next system in usually under 30 seconds. Yes, you make a helluva lot more hops, but you get back into warp and are essentially exposed to threats for less time each hop AND you NEVER run out of fuel. It does however make for some looooooong ass boring trips. One nice bonus is I can sell the data collected by all those system scans… I have picked up as much as an extra 50k Cred from that.

So even though I finally broke out of my one game rut, in both the games I play now I am basically bored but that’s not to say that nothing interesting has happened in my gaming life recently… it has, though not in either EVE or Elite Dangerous…

In Star Citizen.

Yea, in the game no has yet played. Oh I know I know there’s the Hangar and Arena Commander… but the game I am waiting on, the one no one has played yet, is the whole game, the persistent ‘verse, the thousands of stars and systems. What they have so far is nice n all, but truthfully in comparison to what we are expecting, it’s just a taste… like a CQ in EVE that has an Open Door… but one that only leads to one station on SISI, not to all of TQ. It’s a good taste, but it’s not the GAME… and I want the game, not an arena.

Anyhoo, I have bought the basic access with the noob ship, the “Aurora MR AC Starter Pkg”… on discount. I logged in and walked around and was highly impressed with the First Person aspects. This game will flat out rock on the Oculus. I like the ships I was able to board, sit in and walk around in. I haven’t undocked though… as I said, waiting to undock into the ‘verse not a single ‘room’ or dungeon… EVE and ED have spoiled me that way.

So, I get this email… “New Organization Invitation Received” from Roberts Space Industries… from a corp, a corp that wants me to join them, a corp that wants me to join them in Star Citizen, a corp that wants me to join them in Star Citizen a game that has not been released even in beta yet. Interesting.

Now I and you gentle reader are both fully aware this is most probably a form letter, auto-generated and sent based on some algorithm that looks at unaffiliated yet active SC accounts... yet, it was ‘from’ a ColtNickel, I’ll have to see if he is actually a recruiter. It was a lot of the usual “Pilots just wanna have fu-un!” kinda recruiting hype, you know… “Hi there! We’re looking for Casual and Hardcore gamers, young and old, wet-behind-the-ears-noobs and washed-up-cranky-bittervets, crippled, blind or crazy and no more than 30 minutes dead!

ADI has four Divisions and currently 2250 members:
Commerce, Mining & Logistics
Asset Protection & Recovery
Exploration & Survey
Fleet Security

…and they have 3 basic Rules:
Rule #1: Do not be a jerk.
Rule #2: Do not cause drama.
Rule #3: Real life comes first.

In EVE, at least in our home corp HBHI and in HELPeR, #1 & #2 are the same, and #3 is, “RL>Any Game” and should go without saying. However, some obvious things bear repeating as they are not as obvious as they should be to some so meh.

Anyway… there was this whole links you had to click and things you have read and stuff you have to do when you join and I was all like, but I don’t even know any of these guys. I mean I get that unless you are joining a corp some friends are already in or something then you can’t expect to know anyone… but I’m not clicking and reading and doing until I have talked to a few people at least… geez, what kind of a gurl do you think I am anyway?

So I did the Comms part and logged onto their Mumble server. As the letter said I was in the lobby for only a minute or so and like 6 guys popped up to the lobby and said hi. We chatted for a while and it was very interesting. A few were former EVE players, none active the now but all knew of it. And when they asked what I did in EVE… Wormholes… the response was definitive and immediate… “You need to be in Exploration. Yeah, you’ll do well there.

One thing that came up was my age. The guys I met were mostly in college or just starting their careers, and ADI’s about page says the members are mostly 20s to 30s. I didn’t catch if any on that night were married, but I didn’t think so. They were pretty interested in getting an older gamer to join up, I thought that was intriguing…

A few things didn’t sit 100% with me… Their corp description says, “ADI believes in training members to a higher level than most orgs." which sounds all L33T n shit until you read,  “Members will be required to obtain a certificate for any and all gameplay roles in Star Citizen.” which smacks of EVE style “Minimum SP Requirements” which I don’t like. They also have a firm anti-piracy rule, which I am mostly fine with… mostly.

Membership Requirements:
* Must have and use Mumble; headset strongly recommended
* Must be mature
* Must not cause drama
* Must be loyal to Atlas Defense Industries and not be a part of any other organization

The Membership Requirements listed above are in principle fine, but in detail, well...

* I don’t agree with requiring players in a game to spend money on equipment.
In this case a headset that in truth is not, like a PC, absolutely required to play the game.
(However as I already has 2 headsets so… meh.)
* Show me a bullet proof acid test for Maturity and we’ll talk about that one.
* Show me a drama free human and I’ll ask you to take the corpse back outside.
* ADI is an ‘Exclusive’ Corp, meaning you aren’t allowed have accounts/alts in other Corps.
Which sounds ok on the face of it, but like EVE, how in hell could you know? You can’t ‘require’ loyalty… people and organizations earn that over time by BEING loyal to their members. Either way I’m not taking any oaths and not crazy about taking ‘tests’ to be allowed to play with others… it’s a game.

With all the above said, I do find it interesting that so many people are so deeply involved in the Star Citizen project. And, TBH, I do hope it all comes to fruition… I really do (I spent $50 bucks dammit). And at first glance and from a brief Mumble convo I liked what I heard and there is no ‘perfect’ corp or guild or gamer group… there are just gamers and I am one of them.

I think mebbe tonight I’ll logon to SC, get on Mumble and try out the Arena… can’t hurt, and who knows… might be fun.  =]

Oh and one last thing… in SC, I’m still ME…  LOL!

Fly reckless and see you… in the Arena =/|)=

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The High Cost of Brand Loyalty...

~or “Pick a New Topic... Please”

Before I go there, I need to preface this by saying I LOVE the idea of books, graphic novels, art, clothing, and swag of all types and I believe in ALL of the potential inherent in all of that for EVE, OK? I have ALL the EVE novels, The Burning Life, The Empyrean Age, and Templar One. I also own EVE Source and EVE: True Stories and hope one day to order EVE Universe: The Art of New Eden and Empires of EVE: A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online.

I think that goes a ways to show that I am sincere when I say that I really really really want more Art, and Books and Lore and “stuff” and everything for our game… ok? I really do. Seriously, I do.


The new “The Fountain War” Kickstarter campaign by author Jeff Edwards in cahoots with… er… um… Partnering with TMM and CCP to write and publish a book about The Fountain War. The Kickstarter campaign has a goal of $150,000 dollars. I have some concerns, enumerated below, about this project 'cause...

According to some comments and blog posts I have read there is this idea that "Jeff is willing to take on a huge risk, professionally and personally..." because he is going to take time off from his work-a-day job and focus on getting the first serial of the Fountain War released as soon as February 2016 - and then try and make the completion date of December 2016.


In EVE Online, Kickstarter, and The Fountain War, Wilhelm Arcturus, The Ancient Gaming Noob comments;

From today’s project update, where the funding will be spent.
Here is where the money for the Fountain War book project goes:

60% Author Expenses (normally covered by a publishing house)
20% Publishing and Distribution
10% KS and processing fees
5% to Merchandise
5% to Marketing

If they got exactly $150K that would mean:

$90K Author Expenses (normally covered by a publishing house)
$30K Publishing and Distribution
$15K KS and processing fees
$7.5K to Merchandise
$7.5K to Marketing

$90,000 dollars for… approximately 1 year of research and writing. As I understand it Jeff is keeping his dayjob but taking time off (part time? on sabbatical leave?) to write the book. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely sure Jeff will write himself to the bone on this project… I’m just sayin’, can I has that gig?

$150,000 dollars, okay okay, $60,000 after Jeff’s living expenses, is still a lot of money for a book about “this-really-cool-thing-that-happened” (no matter how major or amazing it was) in a very niche game in the MMO gaming world. Especially when compared to the little fact that theHistory of the Great Empires of EVEwas Kickstarted for originally just $12,500 (topping out at $95,729 in the end) and that book covers a far greater scope of Nullsec history with pitchurs and evreethang…

So why would a book covering just one War that spanned but a few months need more than 10 times the funding of a book covering literally YEARS of EVE history?
Answer... it doesn't.
Then why ask for $150K?
Answer… Mittens.
Why do I say Mittens?
Answer… Have you seen some of the goal prizes?

$25 gets you a digital Holiday card from Mittens and Jeff. <blink> <blink>
$100 to get 'followed' by Mittens (and Jeff) on Twitter, for a year... really? There are people I LIKE I dunt want following me on Twitter FFS… how could that be worth even like $10? or…
$100 you can has ‘Live on Twitch’, Mittens and Jeff will drink a toast to YOU, you special little snowflake you… =\
$250 T-shirt, shot glass and a Hardcover copy of the book, signed by Jeff (cool) and Mittens (really??)…
$500 invite to: private party w. Jeff & Mittens at ComiCon ’16, or…
$500 invite to: private party w. Jeff & Mittens at EVE Vegas ’16, or…
$500 invite to: private party w. Jeff & Mittens at FanFest ‘16
$1000 Vegas style Dining Experience and private party after with Mittens and Jeff at next year’s EVE Vegas. Why would I want to do that? I mean seriously?
$10,000 you get a supplemental chapter all ‘bout little ol’ YOU. Really? I mean… seriously a whole chapter on one or more (IRL rich) players? I have NEVER heard of a ‘history’ book ‘selling’ chapters and I would have preferred to not have heard of it this time. This also has the potential to gets totally in the way of accurately reporting history.

And I can guarantee you a large number if not ALL of the key players probably aren’t able to afford $10,000 per to tell their tale in a whole chapter… so we will likely end up with variations on some rich kid who spent the whole battle either cloaked up, spamming memes in local while pounding back beers and Cheetos and Armchair Generaling the whole fight…

Or just as bad some rich player who spent the whole battle actually playing League only having to grumpily go AFK from League to check his EVE clients every 10 or 20 minutes to see if he needed to actually ‘do’ something… You know, turn on an Invuln, cycle a booster, go back into Triage, try and lock a few targets, cycle the doomsday or some such on one of his 5 Titan alts… yuch.

All the Mittens stuff is only going to appeal to what is in truth a minority set of the playerbase. Jeff does not seem to realize he is limiting his potential market. Hell I know Goons who don’t like Mittens… Look Jeff, you wanna get EVE players lined up around the Internet just begging to click “Support”? Simple… try giving them ALL something they’ll want, like this:

$25 get EVE poster of your choice
$50 get EVE poster of your choice signed by CCP Dev of your choice
       +$25 for each additional Dev signature
$50 get T-shirt of your choice
$75 get T-shirt of your choice signed by CCP Dev of your choice
       +$25 for each additional Dev signature
$100 Rixx Javix's EVE Online Battlecruisers Art Print Set
$200 Rixx Javix's EVE Online Battlecruisers Art Print Set signed by Rixx Javix of your choice
$250 Rixx Javix's EVE Online Battlecruisers Art Print Set signed by CCP Dev of your choice
       +$25 for each additional Dev signature
$150 get Rifter model kit
$250 get completed Rifter model
$1500 and you get a Floating Nyx Model when they come out
There… hit goal in like 3 days.

I'm not hatin’ on the overall ‘concept’... I really am not, I own damn near every book so far written on EVE. I am however very concerned with the gross overreach in asking for $150k and some of the marketing ideas are, IMHO, just plain wrong.

(4) and this is, for me, the BIG ONE…
When is some writer, any writer gonna get head outta ass and write about someone other than Mittens? and while you’re at it, how about the rest of New Eden too? What, Hisec, Lowsec and especially my beloved Negsec (Wormhole Space, Anoikis where there be Sleepers…), do these spaces where the majority of the players live and die, do they have NOTHING worth writing about? I know, from personal experience and for a fact, that they do.

And I am not sorry at all but Nullsec is not the End Game of EVE and Goons and Mittens have not won it... There are thousands and thousands of stories across the width and breadth of the New Eden cluster just waiting to be told. Will somebody please step up and tell them?

Fly reckless and see you in the Sky  =/|)=